Under the Prussian eagle

Guide to Berlin - Under the Prussian eagle

Under the Prussian eagle

In 1640 the twenty-year-old Friedrich Wilhelm, later known as the "Great Elector", succeeded his weak and incompetent father.

In the great European disputes this political pragmatist supported whichever side happened to serve his soberly-calculated interests from day to day.

He was thus able to extend the territories of the House of Brandenburg considerably and during almost fifty years rule established a strict centralized absolutism.

By cunning and force he deprived above all the nobility of all privileges.

However, Berlin has his ambitious energy to thank for decisive achievements.

He was untiring in encouraging merchants, tradesmen and industries to settle in the residence.

In 1671 the Jewish Community was founded. Two completely new districts developed: Friedrichswerder and Dorotheenstadt.

The Lustgarten was laid out to the north of the palace and the Unter den Linden" street to the west.

In 1685 he invited the Hugenots who were being persecuted in France to make a new home in Brandenburg.

Many Hugenot families accepted this invitation, many of them settling in Berlin, where even today there is a French community and a French grammar school where pupils are taught in French.

During the era of Friedrich Wilhelm the population increased to over 20,000.

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